Virtual Advocacy Day!
The Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition organized a social media campaign to bolster Congressional support for inclusion of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828/H.R. 432) in the Reconciliation Legislation.
In May 2022, the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition will be organizing a social media campaign to bolster Congressional support for the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828/H.R. 432), by engaging state- and local-level members to contact their U.S. Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen.
State- and local-level members will be targeting their efforts from states toward the two Senators and member on the House of Representatives. This collective and targeted grassroots pressure to Congressional offices will amplify our message and garner greater Congressional support for our legislation.
There are main talking points for advocates to share on social media, emails and in their phone calls. The talking points are designed to be clear statements in order to allow each Coalition member/associates in your network to feel comfortable showing support for Senate Bill 828 or House Bill 432 during your social media posts, or emails and calls, to Congressional offices.
The primary theme of our messages for our April 21st initiative will focus on cost savings associated with the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828/ H.R. 432).
There are common introductory messages that each advocate should highlight about the attributes of mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists that are included below and are in the Fact Sheet.
Proposed Common Messages:
- Several studies show that levels of anxiety and depressive disorders for older adults have doubled since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, but many lack access to providers and needed services.
- Inclusion of Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists in the Medicare Program would increase the pool of eligible providers by over 200,000 practitioners so that Medicare beneficiaries would gain better access to care for their mental health conditions.
- Mental health counselors and MFTs are licensed in all 50 states and well qualified to treat anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD and addiction disorders, and several behavioral health conditions.
Proposed Common “Cost-Savings” Messages
- The Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828/H.R. 432) will save money for the Medicare program.
- Mental health counselors (MHCs) and marriage and family therapists (MFTs) can reduce in-patient costs through the provision of cost-effective services.
- Older adults with mental illness have the highest Medicare costs – 2 to 3 times the cost of other beneficiaries. And untreated mental and substance use disorders among older adults exacerbate health conditions and increase overall Medicare health care costs.
- The legislation under consideration proposes to pay mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists only 75 percent of the psychologist’s rate for mental health services, thereby saving money when the lower cost provider is accessed.
- Congress can “bend the Medicare cost curve” through recognition of cost-efficient and effective providers by passing the Mental Health Access Improvement Act.
- The Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828/H.R.432) would expand the availability of cost-effective providers under Medicare to help treat older adults and address the mental health crisis and the opioid epidemic.
Sample Email or Phone Call to Senators
Sample Email or Phone Call for Senators and Representatives
Scripts for Phone Calls
#HASHTAG FOR THE CAMPAIGN
In order to maximize the campaign’s visibility on social media, we propose using the hashtags #UpdateMedicare and #ICARE on all Facebook and Twitter posts. We encourage all social media posts from state-level members to include #UpdateMedicare or #ICARE.
TWEET AT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE OR SENATOR:
@YourSenator or @YourRepresentative, I’m a constituent from [City] and we need to include mental health counselors and marriage & family therapists in the Medicare program to improve access to mental health care for older adults. #UpdateMedicare or #ICARE!
@YourSenator, I’m a constituent from [City] and there’s a shortage of Medicare mental health/addiction providers. Please sign on to S. 828 or HR 432. #UpdateMedicare or #ICARE.
FACEBOOK POSTS AT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE OR SENATOR:
@SenatorX or @RepresentativeX, I am a constituent from [City] and a mental health counselor (or marriage and family therapist). There’s a shortage of mental health and substance abuse providers in the Medicare system, despite a significant increase in mental health and addiction disorders amongst older adults due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Please sign-on to the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828 or HR 432) to increase beneficiary access to cost-effective mental health counselors and MFTs and save Medicare money. #UpdateMedicare or #ICARE.
@SenatorX or @RepresentativeX, I am from [City] and your constituent. Recent studies and surveys show that the incidence of substance use and mental health disorder has increased substantially in elderly populations. We need licensed mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists available to address this issue in a cost-effective manner and save money for Medicare. I ask you to support the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828 or HR 432) because #UpdateMedicare or #ICARE.